MOUNT IDA – Mayor Vann Morgan informed council members that funding for a projected water project had been placed on hold by Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The project would replace lead oakum pipes used in the city’s aging water system. Council members discussed the project in their February meeting. The mayor had stated then that he was pursuing a state grant to pay for repairs to streets and roads as a result of the project.
He shared in the March 20 meeting that he had been notified that Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders had put a hold on $75 million in grant money. This included the grant Mayor Morgan had applied for the project. He added that no reason was given. However, there was a rumor that the grant money was held up to possibly help fund the LEARNS Act recently passed by the state legislature.
The project would include over seven miles of old water lines.
Mayor Morgan also shared that he had participated in a virtual meeting with ARDoT regarding funds for trails and sidewalks in city parks. The main purpose of the meeting was to explain the application process for grants. He did say that he learned the grant money couldn’t be used to purchase lighting.
Mayor Morgan added that he had discussed additional lighting at the city park with representative
Councilman Bill Ray enquired about the possibility of transforming the old tennis court at the park to pickleball courts. The Mayor said that he had been looking into the cost of resurfacing the tennis court for use as pickleball courts, but could not find anyone local who was willing to do it.
Councilman Joe Partain stated that there should be more oversite of the park to help prevent vandalism. He added that the council members could drive by to help keep an eye on the park.
Mayor Morgan gave an update on a community service project involving students from Caddo Hills. Students cleaned up around the Civic Center and at the Park. They also painted benches and buildings.
Mayor Morgan shared an update on the Glen Irons Pump Station project. The contractor had requested a 34 percent up front payment for purchase of materials. The project will include replacing pipe in the wet well behind Bob’s Food City with HDPE pipe. Bolt flange bolts will be replaced on butterfly valves also. The Glen Iron Pump Station located on Highway 270 near Bob’s Food City will include the installation of a new pump, new wet well and electronic panel as well as other components.
Council members approved the upfront payment. The project is expected to begin in May or June.
Council member Bill Ray recommended that the city employ an engineer to assist in future projects of this nature.
Mayor Morgan shared that the city had purchased a radar gun at a cost of approximately $2,400 to be used by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. He added that T.J. Spurr had purchased two additional radar guns for the sheriff’s office.
Employee T-shirts have been ordered. The city is purchasing 41 neon blue T-shirts with pockets at $9 per shirt.
Mayor Morgan discussed a water leak located behind the Ouachita Artist Gallery. The project required the placement of new water lines with five new hook-ups to connect existing customers to the new line.
Council member Debbie Baldwin shared information regarding Montgomery County Regional Water’s tube settler water clarifier project. The project will cost $2,459,900. They have received a 75/25 grant to cover most of the cost of the project.
Council members discussed the need for new city work trucks. It was revealed that there are only two trucks currently in use that work. Both are currently in need of repair but are able to be driven.
Council members asked Mayor Morgan to look into prices for replacement vehicles for two trucks. Priority is placed on purchasing a one ton work truck.
Council member Debbie Baldwin asked about installing hand rails at the steps on S. West Street. It was discussed that any construction on the sidewalks would require a complete replacement to bring them up to ADA compliance.